The power problematic: exploring the uncertain terrains of political ecology and the resilience framework

Ingalls, Micah L.; Stedman, Richard C. (2016). The power problematic: exploring the uncertain terrains of political ecology and the resilience framework. Ecology and Society, 21(1) Resilience Alliance Publications 10.5751/ES-08124-210106

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ignificant and growing concerns relating to global social and environmental conditions and processes have raised deepquestions relating to the ability of traditional governance regimes to manage for the complexities of social-ecological systems. Theresilience framework provides a more dynamic approach to system analysis and management, emphasizing nonlinearity, feedbacks,and multiscalar engagement along the social-ecological nexus. In recent years, however, a number of scholars and practitioners havenoted various insufficiencies in the formulation of the resilience framework, including its lack of engagement with the dimensions ofpower within social-ecological systems, which blunt the analytical potential of resilience and run the risk of undermining resilience-based management objectives. In this analysis, we engage with this power problematic by drawing on key insights from the scholarlytradition of political ecology, suggesting that a more appreciative, thoroughgoing engagement between resilience scholarship andpolitical ecology may allow not only a deeper treatment of power within the resilience framework but also address several importantcritiques of political ecology itself. We explore the shared intellectual spaces of these traditions and suggest some ways in which acritical engagement between resilience and political ecology on the subject of power better informs our understanding of socio-politicaldynamics within complex systems. In closing, we train the critical light backward on political ecology to suggest that an appreciativeengagement with the resilience framework may assist by reasserting a more serious treatment of ecology within political ecologicalanalyses and support the formulation of more elegant, politically tractable counternarratives to address global environmental crises.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


10 Strategic Research Centers > Centre for Development and Environment (CDE)

UniBE Contributor:

Ingalls, Micah




Resilience Alliance Publications




Stephan Schmidt

Date Deposited:

30 Jun 2020 12:05

Last Modified:

30 Jun 2020 12:05

Publisher DOI:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

political ecology; power; resilience; social-ecological systems




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